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Cornelius News

I Smell Trouble

I don’t like things that smell like something else and I don’t like things that smell too powerful. Allow me to elaborate.

When I was a child I had a paper route and one of the stops was 44 Meetinghouse Road, which was a home inhabited by the Trayser family. Inside their home, which I had to enter once a week in order to be paid $1.80 from a loose change drawer, always smelled of canned chicken soup, even though there was never any canned chicken soup to be seen.

The Mother of Dragons wears perfume and various bodily lotions and tonics. All are relatively mild but every couple years she gets crazy and hits herself with what can only be described as a Staten Island amount of scent. This scent transfers to her seat belt, which means every time I drive her car my shirt ends up smelling of stale lavender and wilted rose petals.

I don’t have an aversion to all smells. I like how coffee shops smell like, you know, coffee. But last week, while in a coffee shop, one person next to me smelled like she’d been doused in cucumber and banana flower oil, another busted out hand lotion that had the scent of teacake and island papaya, and a third spritzed a perfume sample on her wrists that reeked of jasmine and Bulgarian roses. My brain couldn’t process all of these conflicting smells, which meant I couldn’t focus on what I was doing, which meant I had to leave.

Oil and water infusers seem to be a big thing right now. I have one client with 12 employees and they all have their own infuser. One person’s space smells like sandalwood, the next person’s smells like orange and juniper berries, and so on down the line. Every office is like walking into a different soap maker’s stall at an arts and crafts festival.

Lately I’ve noticed (and by noticed I mean smelled) that there’s some kind of bandwagon toward laundry detergents that have such an overpowering scent that it smells like someone poured laundry detergent all over themselves before they left the house. One brand calls it +AromaBoost technology.

What’s the matter with NormalBoost? I pull my clothes out of the washer on our second floor and they possess a light scent of … I don’t know … Tide? I have to hold them up to my face to smell them. I don’t smell them immediately upon entering my front door when they’re tucked away in a second floor closet.

“Oh calm down, those smells smell so goooooooood,” is the usual retort when I complain about odiferous emanations. No they don’t. They smell terrible. Smell is a completely subjective thing.

For example, I don’t mind the smell of my kids’ feet. My wife detests the smell of their feet. Out of common courtesy I don’t buy candles that smell of adolescent toe jam and burn them on the kitchen counter on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

I’ve researched my affliction online and haven’t been able to self-diagnose anything other than a general over-reaction to what society deems a trivial issue. I disagree. Again, allow me to explain further.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not completely scent averse. I use soap that has a smell described on the box as “fresh.” It smells fine in the shower and then when I get out I can’t smell it. If someone walked up to me in public and put their nose on my forearm and inhaled, they’d probably be able to smell the soap. But if anyone ever did that to me, I’m pretty sure I’d call the police.

“You’re ridiculous and I don’t understand how anyone lives with you.” I’m fine with that characterization and you know what else I’m fine with? The smell of air. Sometimes it smells flowery, sometimes it smells musty. Sometimes it smells like fresh cut grass and other times it smells like truck exhaust.

That’s how the world is supposed to smell. If I want to smell roses, I’ll go for a walk in a rose garden. If I want to smell linen I’ll stick my face in the dryer moments after the laundry is done.

If I go somewhere and it smells bad then I vacate the area, I don’t attempt to mask the smell by pouring or spraying something all over it. When someone farts it doesn’t smell like honeysuckle for a reason. If it did, people would be walking around breaking wind without discretion. What kind of a society is that?

Right now half of you are nodding your head and half of you think my wife should take me to see a mental health professional. To the former I say stay strong my friends. To the latter I say this:

Smell ya later.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.